The Kingdom of Mrauk U (source: Wikipedia)
So far we have been taking Burma quite easy, travelling to ‘typical backpacking destinations’, not rushing but spending quite few chilled days in each location (I guess a year of backpacking it’s taking its toll!). But going to Mrauk U was completely opposite and made us travel off the beaten path making this part of our Burmeese adventure even more exciting.
What makes Mrauk U so special is the city remote location. Close to Bangladesh and hidden between the mountains with extremely poor road infrastructure it’s not yet popular among travellers. Our journey from Bagan took us in total over 24 hours, which was prolonged by few emergency stops due to the torrentiral rainfall on the way to Magwe and then a 9 hour stop over in Magwe where we waited for the bus to Mrauk U. This second part of the trip costed $33 per person, which almost gave me a heart attack when it came to paying for the bus ticket. Being the last people getting on the bus we were given non reclining seats and a sleepless night ahead. Tried as hell I was not a happy lady but I suppose this is the price one needs to pay. Continue reading
Landscape of Bagan
This slow, extremely bumpy and at times uncomfortable journey will leave you wandering at what point your head will hit the ceiling but with the trains being integral part of burmese infrastructure this experience should not be missed. Only recently, in April 2014 the government decided to make the ticket prices for foreigners equal to the local making traveling by train more affordable for the backpackers pocket. Although for some reasons most reviews on the Internet suggest making Yangon- Bagan journey on a bus, mainly because it’s more comfortable and faster, I would go against their advise and not think twice. Do it by the train! Continue reading
Temple in Yangon
We finally arrived in Burma, the country that initially was not on our list. But the more we travelled, more and more amazing Burmesee stories echoed in our ears and few months ago we knew that Burma cannot be missed. So here we are.
Yangon the country’s biggest city invited us with insane bus rides, expensive hotel ($25 for a room with no bathroom!), lack of pavements, limited electricity and with no doubt the friendlies people of South East Asia. Everyone smiled at us with an honest looks on their faces. The man in the car who passed by shouted hello, another one overhearing our conversation about a certain building came over and explained what it was in broken English (he then too apologised he had too much to drink, hence his help was limited). It felt good being back in a place that somehow reminded me of Cambodia and from what we have learnt this is probably the last chance to see the Burma as it is, innocent, modest and unwesternised. Continue reading
Hong Kong at night
We arrived in Hong Kong after a bumpy flight from the Philippines and as soon as we stepped out of the plane we were literally on the go. Our main priority was to get Chinese and Myanmar visas sorted but with weekend quickly approaching (we arrived on Thursday) and our train to China booked for Sunday night our schedule was tight, as never before. The plan for the next two days was to get to Myanmar embassy before 12pm on the day we arrived, drop off passports, pick these up first thing in the morning on the following day and rush to an agency for our Chinese visa. Surely this could have been done in 24 hours! Continue reading